- Associated Press - Sunday, August 8, 2010

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) - There are four races left before the Chase for the Sprint Cup title, and the road race on Sunday at Watkins Glen shuffled the standings.

Clint Bowyer was the biggest loser, falling out of the top 12 as Mark Martin replaced him for the final spot, 10 points ahead of Bowyer.

“We’re making progress,” said Martin, who finished 19th and stayed out in his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy during a caution to lead two laps and pick up five valuable bonus points.

“We’re not where we need to be, but we’re battling as hard as we can go. We’ve got to pick it up. If we can do that, keep gaining momentum in these last four, then we’ve got a shot at it. But if we trip and stumble anywhere, it will be curtains.”

Bowyer started 34th in the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevy and was up to 14th just past the midpoint of the 90-lap race before a broken mount sent him to the garage for repairs. He finished 31st.

“It’s just frustrating,” Bowyer said. “We broke a piece of the car. The guys did a good job getting it welded up and getting back out there. As far as I’m concerned, it’s catastrophic for now.”

Points leader Kevin Harvick had a top-10 run going, but a flat tire cost him several positions on the final lap and he ended up 11th. That was one spot ahead of Ryan Newman, who gained one position in the standings to 14th, 83 points behind Martin and just nine ahead of Jamie McMurray.

“We gained in the big picture,” Newman said. “We’re still out, still not where we want to be. We’ll keep going.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who started the race in 40th and complained that it was the worst car he’d ever had at Watkins Glen, finished 26th and fell two spots to 16th, 121 points behind Martin and a dozen points ahead of Kasey Kahne.

Greg Biffle, coming off his first victory of the season, ran consistently in the top 10 over the first 50 laps but was involved in a fender-bender and finished 24th. He remained 11th in the standings, 102 points ahead of Martin.

Despite running strong throughout the race, Denny Hamlin finished 37th after a late-race crash with reigning four-time Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, who finished 28th.

“I had just been working my way up through there and had contact from behind,” said Johnson, who had rallied after getting an early flat tire. “I’m not really sure what all took place, but I got hit from behind.”

“Dive-bombing. It’s just so stupid. We’re not even racing for the win,” Hamlin said. “That’s part of it, I guess. It’s just frustrating. At the end, guys just going for it.”


SMOKE GETS SMOKED: Tony Stewart lost his Watkins Glen mojo _ for one race.

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